Education Practice in the Post-Corona EraFri, Oct 30, 2020
Education Practice in the Post-Corona Era
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, creativity on the frontlines is allowing educational activities to restart and even break new ground. Beyond the “New Lifestyle” in schools, there may be a “New Style of Education” coming. In fact, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has expressed its view that learning in the post-Covid era will need a new direction. (*1) In other words, now is the time to think about what “newness” means in the practice of education going forward.
Creating More Alternatives from Alternatives (*2)
Even from before the impact of Covid-19, education was facing the need to change from the traditional in-school only style to a style where learning involves contemporary society and the local community. In my field of arts education also, educational opportunities don’t happen only in school. Recently, in response to requests from parents/guardians and communities for children to experience art, expectations for alternative arts education which isn’t limited to school grounds are growing. My research team is studying workshops on formative arts which are held at public facilities, art museums, parks, and other locations where there are children. Whether inside or outside of school, it is important to engage creativity through a process of expression and recognize the difference between self and others in arts education. Based on this philosophy, my students and I have investigated through practice how art can be used in teaching to let children express themselves while being connected to others and society. (*3)
However, now even opportunities for this kind of alternative learning are shut down. All our planned workshops and events have been canceled or postponed. In response to this situation, the Da Vinci Masters Foundation is developing an online program for children in the early years of primary school with Kobe City to improve their non-cognitive skills. (*4) The program includes four steps to encourage students to participate in learning.
Step 1: “The Da Vinci Program” (Video)
Step 2: “Da Vinci At Home” (Work at home)
Step 3: “Post Photos of Step 2” (Posting learning outcomes)
Step 4: “Da Vinci Together” (Upload a video based on your post, partially real-time)
Starting from watching videos voluntarily, the system can lead to hands-on learning according to the student’s motivation. Ultimately, the plan is to get around 20 programs on YouTube and move on to Steps 2 and 3.
Using the internet, the endeavor to create even more options for alternative learning deserves attention when considering education in the post-corona era.
Imagining offline while online(*5)
“Professor, please hold classes, especially because it is a time like this.”
This is a message I received from a student in my practical class as I was thinking about canceling it for this year. (*6) Reading the message, I decided to hold the class online.
However, since there are hands-on activities in this class to study instructional material, there were several issues to resolve.
First, there was a need to supply materials and tools. At the time, I couldn’t send my students out to buy supplies because Tokyo, where our university is located, was under an emergency declaration. After consulting the administrative office, we had a full set of supplies mailed to the students’ homes. Second, even during online classes, it is necessary to give instructions individually to students. So, we decided to hold classes in real-time and used the breakout session function, allowing me to give instructions in smaller groups.
Further, using the Moodle survey tool, we set up a voluntary, ungraded Learning Process Sheet for comments. Students can casually post their thoughts, questions and requests about the classes, as well as unrelated chats, and I made sure to always respond to these comments. Below is one of the submissions.
“Really, I would have liked to be in a classroom and have fun creating art while looking at the work of classmates and previous students, so it’s a little sad. But, with the professor speaking to us or playing music, it was fun, and it almost felt like we were in the same place… I’m going to work hard on my subject research sheet tonight.”
This comment is from a first-year undergraduate student who enrolled this April. The student’s feelings of not being able to meet with classmates since enrolling can be sensed, but the student also mentions how the online experience is similar to being in an in-person class. On the other hand, you can also get a glimpse of the students putting in hours on their assignments and working late. I’ve gotten many comments like the ones below, helping me imagine what it’s like for students on the “other side” of the online experience.
“I feel the assignments steadily piling up. I’m looking forward to working hard in this class.”
“Recently my Wi-Fi is weak and loses connection…. I apologize for causing trouble by repeatedly being disconnected.”
“With Covid cases starting to rise again, I’m worried that my club activities won’t be able to restart.”
“It’s been a long time since I’ve expressed my feelings in a picture. Tomorrow, I think I’ll try to express my pent-up feelings in the Covid self-quarantine.”
In our current situation, going online has been adopted not only in education practice but also in remote work and all kinds of societal activities. The converse is being offline, meaning, doing activities in-person in the same physical space. In online classes, the students and I are indeed connected online, but it is difficult for us to share with our space offline. However, imagining that there is an offline space on the other side of being online and that a learner is in this offline space is perhaps the most important for education practice.
It is said that in the Covid pandemic, people have lost opportunities to come together. This is certainly true. However, at the same time, we must re-examine the meaning of what coming together means. We should look at the differences between a space and a place, which are basically synonyms. A place is a point in space, specifying an actual existing region, location or facility. (*7) By this definition, we are currently losing places. At the same time, a space can refer to a place, but it can also refer to the people and things in it and the atmosphere they create, including the meaning of a scene. (*8) If being in-person requires a place, then being online only requires space. The online classes I am conducting don’t have a “place,” but as described above, by envisioning the offline space of the other person, it is not impossible to share the same space or scene. I believe that this is the approach we need to take education practice in the post-Covid era.
- “Special Committee for Primary and Secondary Education in a New Era”
Report of 11th meeting (July 17, 2020)
https://www.mext.go.jp/kaigisiryo/content/20200820-mxt_syoto02-000009367_6-1.pdf (accessed September 10, 2020)
- Includes excerpts from “Waseda University Admissions Guide 2021” https://www.waseda.jp/nyusi/ebro/ug/admissions_jp_2020/html5m.html#page=39 (accessed September 10, 2020)
- The author’s work over 10 years on “Art Tool Caravan” workshop project is shown on the Oizumi Research Lab website
http://www7b.biglobe.ne.jp/~oizumi-labo/ (accessed September 10, 2020)
- Project supervised by the author
https://davincimaster.com/ (accessed September 10, 2020)
- Includes excerpts from Yoshiichi Oizumi “Envisioning Offline Online”, in Art in Education September 2020, pp. 32-35. (Kyoiku Bijutsu Shinkokai Foundation)
- Judged that in-person is preferable in terms of educational effect, because it includes hands-on creation work. This class is a mandatory elective for first to fourth year students; this term there were no fourth-year students registered.
- For example, “the place we met”
- For example, “the space of an hour”
(Photo by Masayuki Yamashita)
Born in Tokyo, Professor Yoshiichi Oizumi obtained a Ph.D. in Education from Tokyo Gakugei University Graduate School of Education. After teaching at a Tokyo Metropolitan junior high school and a Tokyo Gakugei University affiliated elementary school, he took posts at Hokkaido University of Education and Yokohama National University as associate professor before resuming his current position in 2019. His specialty is art education, design education, and workshop theory.
Major publications by Professor Oizumi include: “Theory and Practice in Design by Children” [Kodomo no Dezain Sono Genri to Jissen] (Author, Nihon Bunkyou Shuppan, 2017); “From the History of Art Education: Art Education Series (2)” [Bijyutsu Kyouikugaku no Rekishi kara: Bijyutsu Kyouikugaku Sousho (2)] (Co-Author, Gakujyutsu Kenkyuu Shuppan, 2019); and “Practical Research on the Evaluation of Formative Arts Workshop: <Practical Design = Evaluated Design> and <Extension to Daily Life>” [Zoukei Wa-kushoppu no Hyouka ni Kansuru Jissen Kenkyuu: <Jissen Dezain = Hyouka Dezain> to <Nichijyou heno Enchou>] (Author, Bijyutsu Kyouikugaku Kenkyu Vol. 47, University Art Education Society of Japan, 2015).
In 2011, Professor Oizumi received the 5th Kids Design Award (Future Action Section) at the Art Tool Caravan, a workshop project he has participated in with university students. He also received the 10th Study of Art Education Award in 2013 for his study on the deliverance by teachers in arts and crafts classes based on the collaboration with the education field.
Website: http://www7b.biglobe.ne.jp/~oizumi-labo/ (in Japanese)